He faced only one shot on target and didn’t have much in the way of crosses to deal with. It’s a good thing he’s Icelandic, as the Arsenal goalkeeper was mostly left to watch on during the 90 minutes.
But he did look good. Good in the sense that for periods of the game you’d have been forgiven for thinking Bernd Leno was in net. For fear of going overboard, this was just his second Arsenal appearance, and forgetting who was in net came majorly down to Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson barely being involved.
When he was though, his distribution was neat and tidy. Short passes and lofted balls to the advanced full-backs were both executed with composure. Whether Granit Xhaka found himself with two men directly in front, Rúnarsson wasn’t afraid to thread a ball through the pair for risk of his own scolding.
If there is one area to criticse, maybe it is that: being overconfident. A few of the passes weren’t utterly essential and other progressive directions could have been taken, not that the Icelandic stopper cared much.
Much of that will come down to the manager’s instructions as well as the faith bestowed in him by Inaki Cana, who championed his signing after the departure of Emiliano Martinez. Just like with the club’s fortunes, it won’t be a smooth ride, and the approach Rúnarsson takes to matches is with the fear of an eventual mistake or two.
We’re merely 180 minutes into his Arsenal career, so no snap judgements can be made. But, for a goalkeeper who was second string in France and arrived with a torrid record, it’s nonetheless encouraging signs.
Arsenal clearly want to mould him into a carbon copy of Leno. A heck of a long way off being at that level, it’s plain to see they’re trying their best. With qualification wrapped up and top spot not far off in the 2020/21 Europa League campaign, he’ll have the chance to continue performing in the next two group fixtures.